How to Survive Medical School: First Year Shelf Exams

how to survive

The first years at Tulane are just about to start their last block of the biochemistry/genetics/physiology/histology sequence. In light of the impending shelf exams, I just wanted to share a quick table with my advice. I remember being intimidated when the first year basic science shelves rolled around but they are definitely do-able. I’ve overheard quite a few second years give first years advice: there are clearly a range of opinions. You just have to find out what works best for you. Some people state that studying is not essential, um… I wouldn’t take those comments too much to heart. I walked into the library a handle of times during shelf week and it was packed with my fellow classmates. Definitely do some review but don’t overwhelm yourself, the exams are fair and the test items are on the high-yield components (are you sick of that term yet?).

In previous posts, I shared how I approached each first year class and addressed how I prepared for shelf / what I wish I did / what I should not have done. Feel free to read that in addition! Below is just a quick guide of what I think is a good strategy for success on the shelves.


First Year Shelf Examinations

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